Arrests made in massive Canadian maple syrup heist

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MONTREAL Police in Canada say three people have been arrested in connection with a massive maple syrup heist from a Quebec warehouse, which put a dent in the global supply.

Quebec produces up to 80 percent of the world's maple syrup.

Authorities never disclosed the exact amount of maple syrup stolen in August. But the warehouse contained Quebec's maple syrup reserves, which were supposed to hold 10 million pounds valued at $30 million.

Those arrested are scheduled to face charges Tuesday of theft, conspiracy, fraud and trafficking in stolen goods.

Police also have seized vehicles suspected of being used in the illicit trafficking of the syrup.

The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers said in August that it discovered that the syrup was missing during a routine inventory where empty barrels were found at the site at St-Louis-de-Blandford, Quebec. Officials initially kept the news quiet, hoping it would help police solve the crime.

Anne-Marie Granger Godbout, the executive director of the federation, said that while it isn't unusual for individual maple syrup producers to have stock stolen, having millions worth of syrup stolen is "unusual."

"It's the first time something like this has happened," she said at the time. "We've never seen a robbery of this magnitude."

She said the disappearance of the stock wasn't obvious at first in the huge warehouse. The facility alone houses nearly the equivalent of half the entire U.S. production of maple syrup in a year, she said.

"The U.S. market is the main market for maple syrup, about 75 percent of Canadian maple syrup is directly exported to the U.S.," she said. She noted the theft was particularly ill-timed after a disappointing 2012 season for U.S. producers, triggering more demand for Canadian syrup.

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